Fantasy Football: IDP Per-Snap Efficiency Sleepers from 2015

If Cameron Wake wins back playing time with the Miami Dolphins, he could win your IDP team weeks by himself.

It’s nearly beach season again, and those of us who took the winter off from intense exercise might be thinking about getting our “swimsuit bods” back before we hit the sand and surf.

What if I told you that I had found a way to tone up and get your muscle definition back in just a few hours of working out? Would you prefer to do that, or exercise for two hours every day, go back on your diet, cut out desserts, and so on? The former is a lot less work for the same gain, and -- despite its fictionally miraculous qualities -- is much more efficient.

Efficiency is an important quality in fantasy football as well. When we assess player value in fantasy football, many people look just at the season-end total points that a player has generated. One of the easiest ways to get an impactful player at a discount in your fantasy drafts is to look for players who generated a good amount points relative to the snaps they played. By examining per-snap fantasy efficiency, you get a good sense of who can be even more explosive for your fantasy team if given more playing time.

We’re going to look at which players had enough of a sample size to have stable production (at least 100 snaps in 2015) and were outside the top-50 at their position in total points based on balanced IDP scoring (1 point per tackle, 3 points per sack).

Which potential IDP fantasy sleepers were the most efficient on a per-snap basis in 2015?

Defensive Linemen

Player Pos Team Snaps FPTS/Snap
Cameron Wake 4-3 DE MIA 251 0.247
Robert Quinn 4-3 DE STL 371 0.186
Stephen Paea 3-4 DE WAS 242 0.184
Jonathan Babineaux 3-4 DT ATL 551 0.144
Frank Clark 4-3 DE SEA 341 0.142
Mike DeVito 3-4 DE KC 333 0.138
Cornellius Carradine 3-4 DE SF 226 0.137
Malcom Brown 4-3 DT NE 555 0.136
Damon Harrison 4-3 DT NYG 592 0.135
Brent Urban 3-4 DE BAL 117 0.132

Cameron Wake had a down year in 2015, tearing his ACL seven games into the season. Prior to being shelved, Wake had just seven solo tackles on 251 snaps -- which were all sacks -- due to being pulled back into more of a part-time role for his Miami Dolphins even before the injury. Now 34 years old, Wake will find himself in a full-blown rotation with Andre Branch and Terrence Fede. Still, he’s a weekly boom-or-bust value who could be gotten for extremely cheap.

Defensive end Frank Clark could be a strong candidate to take off in 2016 for his Seattle Seahawks, whether or not they end up moving him to the strong-side (SAM) linebacker role. After spending his rookie year backing up Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, and Chris Clemons, Clark appears poised to siphon off more playing time from the elderly Seattle pass-rushers (Bennett and Avril are 30, Clemons is 34). Clark’s attacking acumen showed in his debut, as he had seven sacks or tackles for loss in just 341 snaps.

Malcom Brown finds himself ready to ascend even further in the New England Patriots’ defensive tackle rotation with the waiving of Dominique Easley earlier this offseason. Brown wasn’t the best blitz specialist with only five quarterback hits in 555 snaps, but he did make a tackle on 8.65 percent of his snaps (11th-most among defensive linemen with at least 100 snaps). He’ll now be heading up the Pats’ interior defensive line unit, and can prove even more valuable in your fantasy leagues.


Player Pos Team Snaps FPTS/Snap
Dwight Freeney 3-4 OLB ARZ 255 0.269
Lamarr Houston 3-4 OLB CHI 433 0.238
Vontaze Burfict 4-3 WLB CIN 242 0.227
Demarcus Ware 3-4 OLB DEN 417 0.217
Alec Ogletree 4-3 MLB STL 265 0.206
Danell Ellerbe 4-3 WLB NO 250 0.182
Denzel Perryman 3-4 ILB SD 550 0.181
Willie Young 3-4 OLB CHI 562 0.181
Nick Perry 3-4 OLB GB 365 0.175
Jasper Brinkley 4-3 MLB NYG 557 0.169

Talk about sack impact: like Wake, linebacker Dwight Freeney had eight solo tackles in 2015 for the Arizona Cardinals, all of them sacks. His quarterback hit rate was only bested among linebackers by Denver Broncos DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, and he added five tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles to boot. Freeney’s still a free agent this year, but if he signs with a team that runs a 3-4 defense, you should snap him up.

Lamarr Houston has been bounced from position to position in the NFL, playing both three-technique defensive tackle and run-stuffing defensive end for the Oakland Raiders early in his career. Now with the Chicago Bears, Houston is an outside linebacker, and that role allowed him to generate 12 quarterback hits in 2015 (seven converted for sacks) and 10 tackles for a loss in 433 snaps. Over the long run, he could lose snaps to rookie Leonard Floyd, but this season I expect Houston to retain the primary job for the Bears on early downs.

There’s not a lot to Jasper Brinkley's 2015 production profile except for a load of tackles, tackles, and more tackles, but that’s just what the 30-year-old New York Giants middle linebacker does. On his 557 snaps last year for the G-Men, Brinkley converted 66 total tackles. (11.85 percent). As always, there’s a fluid linebacker depth chart for the Giants that features just one locked in starter in Devon Kennard. Brinkley could still be a fantasy factor this year.

Defensive Backs

Player Pos Team Snaps FPTS/Snap
Marcus Williams CB NYJ 490 0.156
Terrance Mitchell CB DAL 188 0.152
Josh Wilson CB DET 298 0.144
Trumaine McBride CB NYG 421 0.141
Kareem Jackson CB HOU 640 0.138
DeAngelo Hall CB WAS 444 0.136
Steve Williams CB SD 375 0.128
Leodis McKelvin CB BUF 428 0.123
Deji Olatoye CB DAL 158 0.117
Leon Hall CB CIN 689 0.115

Marcus Williams made his hay in college not long ago as a physical, “bump-n’-run” cornerback who excels in man-to-man guarding. This means he’s always around the ball when it gets to his man, and that’s a quality we want in a fantasy cornerback. That’s why he was able to make 10 passes defensed and 6 interceptions in 2015 on 490 snaps. The defensive back group for his New York Jets is a bit unsettled behind starters Darrelle Revis and Buster Skrine, but Williams is the leader this offseason in the battle for the sub-package outside corner spot. He could play -- and be targeted -- a ton.

Kareem Jackson and Leodis McKelvin suffered season-ending injuries last year, but both were steadily efficient when healthy last year as usual. Yes, the Houston Texans drafted Kevin Johnson last year, who saw plenty of playing time in Jackson’s absence, but Jackson will return to his starting gig immediately. He still had 58 total tackles and six passes defensed in 640 snaps last year. Similarly, McKelvin lost his starting job to Ronald Darby while with the Buffalo Bills and never recovered, but is running as a clear first-string cornerback with his new Philadelphia Eagles. McKelvin’s 32 total tackles and nine passes defensed in 428 snaps helps display his big-play potential.

All three of these defensive backs were top-15 in terms of per-snap fantasy efficiency in 2015 among defensive backs with at least 100 snaps.